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Asian leaders¡¯ summit is prelude to ASEM

Posted October. 20, 2000 13:10,   


On Thursday, a day prior to the opening of the third Asia-Europe Meeting, 10 of the leaders of Asian nations held a meeting at the COEX Convention Center in Seoul to agree on the importance of unity among the East Asian nations and to announce support for peace development on the Korean peninsula.

The leaders also shared the view that the unity of the European Union could become a source of initiative for Asian nations to form a union.

Although the leaders did not directly mention the current developments on the peninsula in detail, they did express support for the Seoul Declaration, which contained the current changes on the peninsula and the goal of peace settlement following the June 15 inter-Korean Summit.

"Congratulation!" "Thank you!"

Before the start of the Asian leaders¡¯ summit, various heads of Asian states congratulated President Kim Dae-Jung on his reception of the Nobel Peace Prize and shook hands with the president. Even prior to the summit, the attendees at the ministerial-level talks working out the details for the Asian leaders' summit, expressed, "President Kim Dae-Jung's Nobel Peace Prize could lend beneficial influence to the stabilization and peace on the peninsula."

In particular, Foreign Minister of Japan Kono Yohai sent a message of congratulation as the representative of foreign ministers from various nations.

Oct. 19 witnessed the arrival of the greatest number of foreign heads of state to Korea in Korea's history. On this day alone, 14 heads of state for the ASEM arrived in Seoul including the leaders of France, Germany, Britain and Japan.

The European leaders arrived on the same aircraft in groups of three or four, which contrasted with the Asian leaders, who came alone on their special-use aircraft. Danish Prime Minister Paul Rasmusen, Swedish Prime Minister Yelan Peirson, the Greek Foreign Minister replacement Elizabeth Papazoe arrived in the morning sharing a ride on a Lufthansa airplane.

In the afternoon, Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean Claude Junker, the Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Guetierrez, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the European Union Romano Furody, and the Austrian Prime Minister Wolfgang Seshel, arrived in Seoul on a shared KAL flight.

As the four leaders who came on the KAL flight were of equal importance, the ASEM office of protocol agents considered the duration of their terms in office and escorted Luxembourg Prime Minister Junker (in office since January 1995) out of the airport first.